Drawing Near

Journal Entry // March 26, 2022

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.

Luke 15:1 ESV

Am I offended by this statement as the leaders and teachers were when Jesus was ministering among the people? Mentally, I ascent to this statement and fully endorse the compassion and sensitivity that Jesus was showing to the crowds and understand that the lost and hurting were drawn to him because of his compassion and love. In practice, I am not so sure that I live out this same compassion and love toward sinners and those in need. Are those in need of Jesus drawn to me and my life? Am I putting myself in situations and opportunities to be around those who are vulnerable and in need? I know that I want to be this person that so models the life of Christ and the Spirit flowing out of me that the hurting are drawn to me. Yet, I feel I am lacking in this area of ministry. I am slow to leave my comfort areas that continue to give me a false sense of security.

What I mean is that in order for the lost and the hurting to be drawn to Christ in me, then I must be among the people who are in need. Jesus didn’t sit in a temple that forced people to come to him and allowed him to remain comfortably in his familiar surroundings. Jesus went out among the people and served. He got his hands dirty. He involved himself in the messiness of people’s lives. He entered into and engaged in relationship with people… all kinds of people. People that agreed with him and loved him. People that disagreed and hated him. Jesus was among them all sharing the good news of the gospel. It’s hard to be engaged with people. It takes a lot of effort, both mentally and physically. There will be hurt. There will be adversity. There will be challenge. It is through this engagement with people in relationship that I myself am drawn to Christ.

It is in relationship that I put into practice the spiritual lessons that the Jesus is teaching me. All these good and wonderful things I am learning through his word and teaching become my own once I begin to put them into practice. Once I begin to demonstrate love, compassion, patience, and fidelity to those around me I will begin to mature in my faith and I will be drawn even closer to my Savior. I need to engage with people. All types of people. I need to get involved in the messiness of relationships. Even though it means I will fail at times and others will fail me at times. These are the moments that drive me to the cross in repentance and faith. Times where I can come to Christ and receive mercy and grace over and over and over. Times where I can bask in the love of Christ for me.

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